2 Important Questions for Your Team

Managers frequently tell me that they dread giving performance feedback.    They are concerned that the conversation will result in a decrease in performance, an emotional reaction, employee complaints, and possibly turnover.  They also struggle with giving recognition and praise in a manner that is motivational for their team.  I have lead teams of two employees up to 100 employees and all sizes in between.  After years of trying to read my team and identify their preferred communication style, I developed these questions, which remove the “guess work” in coaching and praise and help ensure a successful conversation. I ask each member of my team the following questions during a private conversation, when I am not giving them feedback.  I take notes on each employee’s preference and refer to my notes when I need to have a coaching or recognition conversation with the employee.  These questions have provided me with successful results and allowed me to take the “guess work” out of managing a team. How can I give feedback in a manner that is productive and meaningful for you? How can I recognize your accomplishments in a motivational and rewarding way? What additional questions have you found beneficial in communicating development feedback and praise to your team?  Please share your success...

3 Tips for Collaboration to Resolve Conflict

Sam recently facilitated a team meeting to discuss implementing a new LEAN initiative.  The team discusses the potential benefits and pitfalls of the change.  There is a lively conversation by 4 of the 6 team members.  The other 2 team members sit quietly with their arms folded and listen to the discussion.  The team agrees on an implementation plan and leaves excited to launch the new process.  The 2 quiet team members are overheard stating “this is a stupid process, it will never work” as they leave. Sam can use a Collaborative approach to resolve the conflict on his team.  A Collaborative approach involves the following 3 steps: Look for a way to satisfy both your concern and the other person’s concern. Collaborate or resolve the problem by valuing both your goals and the relationship View the conflict as a problem to be solved by brainstorming solutions which are agreeable to everyone involved Look for new alternative solutions Offer suggestions to continue the problem solving conversation, “How does this sound…” Sam called a meeting with the 2 quiet employees that afternoon.  He summarized his perspective from the meeting, which was they were quiet and seemed to have unvoiced concerns about the change.  Sam asked them to share their concerns about the new process with him.  Sam listened intently with a desire to understand and asked clarifying questions.  Once he had heard their concerns, they brainstormed solutions that addressed their concerns and strengthened the new process.  They left the meeting receptive to implementing the new process and Sam shared their brainstorming ideas with other departments who were also implementing the...

BEER Coaching Model

Stephen called to share that every time he gave performance feedback to one of his employees, she started crying.   He had tried to keep a box of tissues in the room, stepped out to let her compose herself, and started the conversation with praise.  Nothing seemed to work. Here are the tips I shared with Stephen for giving constructive feedback: Give feedback in private Open conversation by indicating this is a coaching conversation, to prepare the employee We need to discuss . . . . Recently I’ve noticed you struggle with . . . It’s come to my attention that . . . . Deal with one issue at a time, be specific, truthful and offer credible feedback Give feedback immediately, use I statements – I observed. . . . Make sure the employee is ready to receive the feedback Motivate the employee to want to change their behavior to get different results – how does the change benefit them? Treat them professionally with dignity and respect Explain  your performance expectations Give suggestions to improve performance Don’t communicate in anger Confirm understanding and allow time for the employee to ask questions In honor of the craft breweries in Colorado, I developed the BEER Coaching Model which managers can use to successfully deliver performance feedback: B = Behavior you observed, briefly describe it and be specific Hear their story and allow them to explain their positive intentions E = Explore Options for Improvement Share how the change in behavior or performance benefits them E = Engage employee in solution What can we do so this doesn’t happen again? How can...

5 Things Every Employee Wants to Know

When I survey groups of managers and employees about their perception of the performance evaluation process, most of them either love the process and feel it is one of the most productive conversations they have all year, or they dread the process and feel that it is almost painful and leaves them demotivated. There are very few who shrug their shoulders and think it is “ok”. No matter which end of the Performance Appraisal Spectrum you fall, here are tips to make your performance appraisal more productive and motivational for you and your employees! A Fortune 500 company surveyed 30,000 employees to identify what information was most important to their development and what information would help retain them at the company. While the feedback was diverse, there were 5 themes that became readily apparent. What level of performance is expected of me? What is my current level of performance relative to the company’s expectations? In what areas do I need to improve and what steps do I need to take to upgrade my current level of performance? What are my career opportunities with this company? What is the payoff for my contribution? These 5 questions are applicable to all organizations and universal to most employees. Consider including them in your performance appraisal conversation to ensure a more meaningful discussion with your employees. As you prepare for your performance appraisal conversation, you may feel like you have an abundance of data about your employees’ performance, or you don’t have enough. Here are some tips to assist you in preparing for your performance appraisal conversation. 3 Bonus Tips for effective Performance...

5 Steps to a Strategic HR Reputation

The Chairman of the Board invited me into his office and announced, “I’ve decided I like you, so I’m going to tell you everything I hate about Human Resource people.” This was my first Vice President, Human Resources and Training position. I joined a Fortune 500 company years later as the Vice President of People Services after they had conducted a yearlong search. I learned my predecessor only visited the 22 offices around the state when he had to fire an employee, no wonder they struggled to fill the job. When I announced the new HR Mission Statement – we are going to be “HR Lite: Twice the Efficiency with only half the Irritation” the leadership team applauded. What is your HR Department’s brand in your organization? What do other departments say behind your back? Have you ever walked into a meeting only to discover that there was a pre-meeting to decide the outcome of this meeting? Did the outcome surprise you? If these questions cause you to form a pit in your stomach, I can help. Here are 5 Tips to Enhance Your HR Department’s Reputation: 1. Tell leaders what they can do! There are a lot of employment laws and policies. Most leaders understand what they cannot do, please give them options that are legal and consistent with the company culture. What can they do that will be good for the employee, the business, and the community perspective? 2. Bring Solutions to leaders! They know that there are employee problems and concerns throughout the organization. What are you going to do about it? How can you make...